Thomas Williams (Archbishop of Wellington)
Thomas Stafford Williams
|Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Wellington|
|Appointed||30 October 1979|
|Installed||20 December 1979|
|Term ended||21 March 2005|
|Successor||John Atcherley Dew|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of Gesù Divin Maestro alla Pineta Sacchetti|
|Ordination||20 December 1959
by Gregorio Pietro Agagianian
|Consecration||20 December 1979
by Owen Snedden
|Created Cardinal||2 February 1983
by John Paul II
20 March 1930 |
Wellington, New Zealand
|Previous post||Ordinary of the Military Ordinariate of New Zealand (1995-2005)|
|Motto||Unity in Christ|
|Coat of arms|
Early life and education
Williams was born in Wellington, New Zealand and educated at Holy Cross Primary School, Seatoun; SS Peter and Paul School, Lower Hutt; St. Patrick's College, Wellington; and St. Kevin's College, Oamaru. He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Victoria University, Wellington, and worked for some years as an accountant. During his studies, he was deeply involved in the Catholic Youth Movement (YCW) and for a period worked full-time for the movement. In 1954 he commenced studies for the priesthood at the National Seminary, Holy Cross College, Mosgiel, Dunedin.
In 1956 he was sent to the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, where he obtained a licentiate in theology and was ordained a priest on 20 December 1959. Later he received a social sciences degree from University College Dublin.
Returning to Wellington, he served as assistant pastor and as Director of Studies at the Catholic Enquiry Centre. He left that post when he volunteered to serve as a missionary in Samoa (today the Archdiocese of Samoa-Apia), where he was parish priest for 5 years. He returned to New Zealand in 1963 and became parish priest at St. Patrick's in Palmerston North for two years. This was followed by four years as Director of the Catholic Enquiry Centre in Wellington. In 1971 he moved to Leulumoega, Samoa and returned to New Zealand in 1976 to the Holy Family Parish in Porirua East, one of the Archdiocese's most multi-cultural parishes.
He became Archbishop of Wellington on 20 December 1979 – his 20th anniversary of priestly ordination – following the death of Reginald Cardinal Delargey. His principal consecrator was Owen Snedden, long-term Auxiliary Bishop of Wellington. Williams was created Cardinal-Priest of the titular church of Jesus the Divine Teacher at Pineta Sacchetti by Pope John Paul II on 2 February 1983.
Thomas Stafford Williams
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
He campaigned strongly against the passage of the law allowing civil unions in New Zealand saying it would turn New Zealand into a "moral wasteland". He also campaigned against the expansion of casinos.
Conclave and retirement
Williams was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. He resigned as Archbishop of Wellingon on 21 March 2005 having reached the age of 75 years and was succeeded by the then Coadjutor Archbishop, John Atcherley Dew.
- Thomas Stafford Cardinal Williams profile at Catholic Hierarchy website (retrieved 12 February 2011)
- In his own words: a tribute to Cardinal Thomas Williams. ISBN 0-86469-476-8
- NZ Catholic Bishops Conference bio of Thomas Stafford Cardinal Williams
- Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington website
|Catholic Church titles|
|Archbishop of Wellington
John Atcherley Dew